Water customers could see lower bills
CHARLESTON — West Virginia American Water announced the possibility of lower rates Thursday as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 after originally filing a rate increase with the West Virginia Public Service Commission.
The decision is pending approval by the PSC.
If approved as proposed, West Virginia American Water would reduce its rates by an average of 3.5 percent effective Sept. 1 to reflect its federal tax savings from Sept. 1 until the PSC sets new rates in February 2019, which would provide a savings to customers of approximately $2.2 million. For the average residential customer, the monthly savings will be $1.60 for water and $2.17 for wastewater.
West Virginia American Water President Brian Bruce said the total savings for customers is estimated to be S4.6 million annually and the company plans to use the savings to lessen rate increases going forward.
“Taxes are part of a utility’s cost of providing service and are typically incorporated into utility rates set by the PSC in periodic rate cases; however, given the unique aspect of this federal tax reform and its benefit to customers, we agreed with the parties in this case to pass these benefits to customers sooner than the usual process allows,” Bruce said in a news release.
In June, a report from Americans for Tax Reform showed West Virginia as one of two states in the country that was not originally reporting rate decreases as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The PSC had required all privately owned utility companies to file an explanation of the impact of the tax cuts with a plan on how the savings would be shared with customers by May 30.
West Virginia American Water filed a rate increase request in April seeking to charge its residential customers an average of $10.22 more a